Review // Sonam and the Silence

Title: Sonam and the Silence
Author: Eddie Ayres
Illustrator: Ronak Taher
Published: August 2018
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Children
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $24.99 AUD

I received a copy of Sonam and the Silence from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A haunting fable-like story by the well-known musician and author, Eddie Ayres, about the power of music and a young girl in Kabul set during the occupation of the Taliban

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Sonam’s world is dark and silent. Then one day, she follows a magical melodious sound to a walled garden, and her world is silent no more. The sound is music, and it lifts her up amongst the stars and takes her deeper than the tree roots in the earth. How can she hold on to this feeling in a world where music is forbidden?

A lyrical fable-like story by the well-known musician, author and broadcaster Eddie Ayres, about the irrepressible power of music.

It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Sonam and the Silence. It’s a beautifully illustrated, haunting story of a young girl living in Afghanistan in a time when all music has been banned. Sonam lives in a world of silence until she comes across the most beautiful sound she’s ever heard coming from a garden. There, she learns of music and the power it has to transform her world.

I love picture books, and I especially love picture books that tackle topics that adults might not believe younger readers would be interested in. Wearing my teacher hat, Sonam and the Silence would be such a wonderful text to read and unpack in a classroom with students. It’s a great jumping off point for discussions on geography, history and the lives of children in other parts of the world.

Eddie Ayres has done a wonderful job with the story, too, weaving history into a story without making it feel like a lesson. It’s clear that he has a passion for not only music, but also Afghanistan and the children there who are learning music in a place where once they might not have had that opportunity.

Beyond that, it’s also a beautifully produced book. The look and feel of the hardcover book is just exquisite and invites the reader in to uncover the secrets of the story inside.

This is a story about the power of music and the hope that it can bring, especially when that hope is carried with the resilience of a young child. I gave Sonam and the Silence 4 out of 5 stars.

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